Thursday, 8 March 2018

An undisclosed amount of coffee

The blog has been quiet of late due to spending most of winter in isolation, constantly (plugging? Chipping? Hacking?) away at Gatwick's Five Year Biodiversity Action Plan Review, which now looks on track for being finished by early April. That means it should be fully done and out of my brain by the time this wee one hatches!

Brown Hairstreak Butterfly (Thecla betulae) egg on Blackthorn. 
Photo taken in the North West Zone, December 2017

Writing about report writing feels a bit meta...but I'll tell you a bit about it anyway. Putting this report together has been at once satisfying and infuriating, riveting and tedious. Reviewing my own work from the very start of my job in early 2012 was a weird, at times heartening and at other times a frankly excruciating experience!

Pulling together the data, compiling the species lists and finding out the totals for the different wildlife groups was the most enjoyable part; immediately it jumps out where we have done great work and covered all bases, and where knowledge gaps are still to be filled.

One of my many desks this winter: the Harris & Hoole cafe at Hookwood Tesco

The things which got me through this winter have included copious cups of coffee, late evenings spent in noisy pubs with my laptop and headphones, and many, many GIF animations of Sean Bean and Arnold Schwarzenegger (special thanks to Tom Simpson for those).

Me in November 2017

Me in December 2017

Me in January 2018

With my handy new Monzo card and the accompanying app, I have even been able to keep track of the obscene amounts I have spent on coffee while writing up this report... My total spend over the past few months (I earned over £20 in loyalty points at Costa!!), is so shameful that I cropped that bit out of the picture.

The incredible amount of help and feedback I have received from the ecologists and conservationists involved in this project has made the process infinitely more manageable, keeping my sanity in a better state than it otherwise would be! This reminds me how lucky I am to work in a sector where so many people have the same passion; no matter what our backgrounds are, or our interests on the side, our end goal to preserve nature is still the same.

I will post another update soon of all the action taking place under Tom S's guidance on the sites!